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Discover Guangzhou Self Guided Book is written by Janvi Tours, formerly Guangzhou Private Tour Guide Janvi or Guangzhou Tour Guide Janvi


Written by Janvi Chow
Published August 2018

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Home Travel Guide Introduction Of Guangzhou A history of the Execution Ground

A history of the Execution Ground

Located in the south of the ZHUGUANG ROAD WEST, the Execution Ground originally was a stretch of barren land outside the southern city wall of Canton. As more and more residents gradually settled in this land, the area has its name – the Execution Ground. According to the ancient literature, people initially called it “the area nearby Tianzi Wharf” because of the famous Tianzi Wharf.

The reason why this land became an execution ground can be dating back to the 1820s when Cheng Hanzhang, an official of Guangzhou, wrote a poem to warn bandits and thieves. In the poem, he wrote “Do not violate the law. Otherwise, you will be beheaded in the area nearby Tianzi Wharf" from which we know the place has already turned into an execution ground from the wasteland.

In 1854, a famous scholar, Ronghong, who graduated from Yale University came back to Guangzhou and lived in XIANXIA LAN, which is in the ZHU GUANG ROAD SOUTH. It was the time during the revolution of Heaven and Earth Society which was against the Qing government, and the members of Heaven and Earth Society were all beheaded in the Execution Ground as soon as they were caught by the Qing government. “It was extremely horrible. There were lots of headless corpses, and the blood was everywhere. The color of soil turned to red, and blood covered many small ponds” said Ronghong.

At that time, some people dug up the soil that was soaked with blood from Execution Ground and use it to make Chinese ancient stoves. These hard and durable stoves were called "Dock Stove" and they were very popular back in the 1850s.  However, few people knew the sad story behind these stoves.